A more serious look at video games

Posts tagged ps3

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Far Cry 2 - some thoughts

I bought this for about $8 total not too long ago. I liked some of the previous Far Cry games, so I thought I’d give this one a shot as well. After playing it for about 4 hours, I soon realized that Far Cry 2 is highly representative of many games I’ve played in this generation of console gaming. It’s vast but vapid, a soulless slough composed of a lengthy checklist of mechanical parts. The world is open, but it’s spirit is closed. The earlier Far Cry games, at their time, didn’t suffer so much from this, because their reach didn’t exceed their grasp. Far Cry 2 is just plain overengineered in its design, an unfortunate reality of many games I have played over the last 5 years or so. It’s manifested in that gnawing sense you get when everything that happens or everything you do doesn’t feel like it matters. The game never satisfactorily connects you to the scenario and world, nor does it maintain the connection via the numerous and intimate design flourishes that are required.

Also, this PS3 version I have looks kind of awful—and I’m fairly sure it’s not my TV. Something about the lighting and colors being dull. Really kills any attempt to become absorbed in the world.

I’m glad I only paid $8 for it. Far Cry 3 seems to be on a better track than this game, as I have been impressed with some of the stuff talking about it out there. But if the developers follow too many of the trails the 2nd game carved out, that would truly be a shame.

(Source: cosmotecture)

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The Last Guardian still lives, promises Sony dev

The game, according to this developer, is still being developed in Japan. Fumito Ueda continues to work closely on the project (something Ueda confirmed to Kotaku this summer). But it’s a “very ambitious project”, the developer pointed out, adding that The Last Guardian was probably announced way too early.

My brain starts to seize up when I try to imagine what this game will be like when it’s finally released.

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Silent Hill HD Collection miffs series' art director

[A fan] sent [Masahiro] Ito a side-by-side screenshot comparison of two characters standing by a waterfront with fog obscuring the background. While in the original PS2 version, the fog rests atop the water and creates an eerie atmosphere, the HD Collection port presents a relatively clear view of the environment, only fading into the mist as the water meets the horizon. “I guess that it was a problem of PS3. PS3 has a weak point for using ‘translucent texture,’” tweets Ito, where “translucent textures” refer to features like fog and mist. Aside from his analytical comments, Ito also tweeted his displeasure with the screenshots’ quality: “It’s poor … It’s really a released version? Really?”

When I saw the early screenshots and side-by-side comparisons, I figured the ‘clearness’ was a result of the early work. But now that the game is out… this ain’t good. First, it was graphical glitches and framerate issues. Now, the trademark Silent Hill atmosphere? I remember playing SH3 the first time and barely being able to see a damn thing in front of my face. :/

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Short trailer for the upcoming PS3 game Journey, the latest title from Thatgamecompany, directed by Jenova Chen. This game’s visual style, presentation and atmosphere are elegant and amazing.

This game will be released in about 10 days on 13 March in North America, followed by a European and Japanese release a few days later.

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Skyrim 1.4 patch on the way with potential PS3 lag fix

From the changelog: “Long-term play optimizations for memory and performance (PS3)”

I’ll believe it when I see it. I haven’t played Skyrim in over a month because of lag issues. The patch is currently in testing and Bethesda hopes to submit it next week. All told, we’re probably a couple of weeks away from now until we get it. There’s also a ton of quest bug fixes.

Honestly, when I see the word ‘optimization,’ I’m really seeing ‘marginal improvement.’ This PS3 lag problem seems to be some kind of fundamental, foundational thing and this fix sounds like more layers of duct tape.

Filed under skyrim gaming video games ps3 game news

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Resident Evil 6 trailer.

Looks like the series is packing in more frenetic action and kinetic energy than ever. I personally kind of hated RE5, but this game looks like a no-holds-barred adrenaline rush of deliciously horrific proportions. Might as well go all out now; there ain’t no going back to the olden ways. And the music kind of reminds me of RE2, which is a good thing.

Filed under resident evil resident evil 6 survival horror x360 xbox 360 ps3 gaming video games

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Jonathan Blow’s ‘The Witness’ could reach consoles

He previously stated that it would not be possible due to a confluence of factors like the small team-size he had, cost-benefit considerations, RAM limitations on the 360 and PS3, and the annoying certification process required for console releases. Now, after hiring a few more programmers, all those hurdles seem to have dissipated.

The 360 and PS3 are getting quite ancient, at least in computer years. If the human-to-dog years ratio is, as they say, 1:7, then computer technology is probably triple that. I’m definitely noticing the ‘limitations’ first-hand playing through Skyrim on the PS3, and then seeing how it looks and plays on a PC.


Filed under jonathan blow the witness video games gaming ps3 xbox 360 x360 game news

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The Man Behind Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and The Last Guardian

There’s a common joke about the game industry being filled with failed movie directors looking to tell their stories where there’s less competition. But in Ueda’s case, he says he’s actually more of a failed painter. “Growing up, I wanted to become a modern artist,” he says, “but I found I wouldn’t be able to support myself, so I switched my careers.”

Whether that’s accurate or modesty — something tells me he could make a living as an artist in 2011 — Ueda says he played a lot of games as a child, starting out a Mega Drive [Genesis] owner, and that Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. convinced him games were special. “It was the first game where I felt there was a world beyond what you could see on the screen,” he says. “Up until then, you just kind of thought it ended with whatever you saw, but with Mario it felt like the world extended beyond that.”

In case you haven’t read it, here’s a nice, lengthy cover story on Fumito Ueda from 1UP.

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Report: Ueda leaves Sony

Hmm, this is most interesting indeed. I wonder what happened here — if this turns out to be true. Ueda is, of course, the director of the upcoming The Last Guardian, and the mastermind of the much-beloved prior titles Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. He is, however, reportedly freelancing with Sony to finish The Last Guardian. Upon completion, the source speculates that Ueda will work on more personal projects. Maybe he forms a small yet awesome indie outfit?

Still, this news is kinda shocking. I’ll be following this…


Filed under fumito ueda video games the last guardian game development gaming ps3

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Commentary: Borderlands


While bordering on the banal, there is no denying that the bombastic barrage of bullets across barren wastelands known as Borderlands is crafted with a magnitude of polish indicative of a high-level understanding of fun-filled first-person shooter mechanics. That it achieves a mechanically sound and relatively enjoyable first-person shooting experience on a visceral level is somewhat surprising given that it attempts to merge that with many MMORPG elements in a mostly single-player paradigm. This merger is something of an experiment to me, and it provides glimpses into the future regarding how a MMOFPS might look like if it were crossed with World of Warcraft or something similar. However, I don’t think this path is an exalted one for first-person shooters, a path defined generically by rote grinding, quests and crawling through a myriad of dungeons (or, in the case of Borderlands, post-apocalyptic trash megastructures and wide-open wastelands).

The luster of Borderlands shines through its art direction. The game world is a somewhat meticulously realized vision of a post-apocalyptic future, littered with wastelands and mountains of litter and waste, based on various source materials that have come before it. The game employs a nice cel-shading graphical effect, though towards what end besides to visually distinguish the game I’m not sure. Maybe you could argue that the cel-shading is a function of some of its cartoon-like flourishes.

Though great attention and energy was devoted to the construction of the game world, it is disappointing that most of the narrative was embedded in the game’s quest system in static text boxes. First-person games have a proud history of rich, environmental narratives (e.g. Metroid Prime or Bioshock). The developers of Borderlands really didn’t leverage the power of this tool; most of the environments are devoid of unique and impactful narrative attachments. The priority was clearly on designing environments first to appeal to the digital tourist in gamers and second to serve as a functional container for the numerous, repetitive MMORPG elements. 

It’s my belief that in order to successfully immerse gamers, more has to be done than just create a unique and visually-detailed world. For any primarily first-person game, this is paramount, a natural inclination for game designers. It’s an automatic concession that the player-character is less some fictional character and more the person him or herself. The challenge is in the balance of creating a world with deliberately immersive properties to simultaneously draw the human player in and merge or map the fictional characteristics with the player’s. A key ingredient to achieve this is the narrative details and how they are presented interactively. Borderlands ultimately doesn’t succeed at achieving this balance because it has more or less eschewed narrative for shooting stuff.

Still, the underlying first-person shooter mechanics are sturdy and inviting, creating a bridge throughout that many fans of the genre will want to cross perhaps once into those junk-filled borderlands. As they say: one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

EVALUATION: 2 / 3 — Some worthy qualities

Filed under borderlands ps3 commentary xbox 360 xbox 360 fps first person shooter post-apocalyptic